Is it wrong to be obsessed with my formulations? If so – call me guilty! I recently made two new unique formulations: Kalahari Melon Face Cream and Mango and Blackcurrent Sensual Lip Shimmer. These products' luxurious ingredients are on the product pages of my website. In this article, I want to explain what goes into formulating a new product.
I usually begin the process of new product formulation
by focusing on what I need. I call this 'my intention.' For example, in formulating the Kalahari Melon Face Cream, I wanted a face cream that would absorb well, leave my face feeling hydrated, and help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Next, I select what I consider to be the star ingredients. The star ingredients in the Kalahari Melon Face Cream are the oils: Kalahari Melon Citrullus lanatus and Red Raspberry Rubus Idaeus seed oils.
After I select the star ingredients and know my intended use, I can add other ingredients, such as water, emollients, and essential oils. I use the manufacturer's recommended percentage and formulation guidelines for the emollients and preservatives. Most of the manufacturers I purchase raw materials from provide a great deal of information and often have examples of using a particular ingredient in a formulation. This information allows me to get an idea of how much is used for specific products. I build a new formulation in a 50-100 gram batch. This way, the percentages are easier to figure out, and I am left with only a little product to either use or dispose of if it turns out differently than I expected. For instance, some emollients thicken over time, and it takes a few days to determine whether a batch will reach the desired consistency. This slow thickening process happened the first few times I made the Dreamy Body Butter; it took four batches to get it right.
The water I use is often in the form of a hydrosol. I use 100% hydrosols in my Dreamy Body Butter but only about a third in my Kalahari Melon Face Cream. Since the face is a more sensitive area than other areas of the body, I wanted to use more distilled water than hydrosol. In some formulations, I don't use any water. When not using water, I can skip the preservative and use an antioxidant such as Vitamin E or Phytocode Elderberry. Any formulation containing water requires a boil period and a broad-spectrum preservative. In the words of
Benjamin Franklin, “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria." I have tried using different preservatives that are less powerful and had the formulations go bad after a few months. So now, I stick with a broad-spectrum preservative, paraben and formaldehyde free, whenever I have water in a formulation.
It can take 3-4 months of trials to create and, more importantly, recreate a new formulation. So when someone says to me, “you should make this new product!” I take it with a grain of salt. Just because it is a good idea, does not mean it will survive the challenges of the formulation process